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This Week in the British Journal of Cancer: Apr 21, 2011

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In the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in Italy present the results of the ROSORC trial that tested sorafenib with interleukin-2 therapy versus sorafenib alone in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma. In this phase II study, 128 patients were randomized to receive sorafenib alone or with subcutaneous IL-2. After a median follow-up of 27 months, median progression-free survival was only 33 weeks with the combination therapy, compared with 30 weeks for monotherapy. However, for patients receiving a higher dose of IL-2, median progression-free survival was 43 weeks, the authors write. "The combination of sorafenib and IL-2 did not demonstrate improved efficacy versus sorafenib alone. Improvements in PFS appeared greater in patients receiving higher-dose IL-2," they add.

Also in the British Journal of Cancer, researchers in Australia and Canada say that a patient's ratio of neutrophil to lymphocytes can help predict chemotherapy outcomes in advanced colorectal cancer. In the patient cohort, combination therapy and a neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio of five or less were associated with improved clinical benefit, the authors write, while a ratio of greater than five and monotherapy were associated with "increased risk of progression." The results "have highlighted [neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio] as a potentially useful clinical biomarker of systemic inflammatory response in predicting clinically meaningful outcomes in two independent cohorts," the researchers suggest.

Finally in the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers at Johns Hopkins and in France link tumor epithelial vimentin expression and the outcome of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas. The researchers detected vimentin expression in surgically resected pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas from 387 patients, and found that 45 percent of the primary pancreatic adenocarcinomas contained neoplastic cells that expressed vimentin, and that vimentin expression was correlated with poor histological differentiation. "The presence of vimentin-expressing tumour epithelial cells in surgically resected pancreatic adenocarcinomas independently predicted a shorter postsurgical survival," the team adds.